Facebook has acquired Confirm.io, a startup that verified government-issued identification for third-party businesses. In addition to ID cards, Confirm.io’s service also handled biometrics and facial recognition data. It’s unclear at this time what Facebook plans to do with the technology, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that Facebook may use Confirm.io tech in the future to verify the identity of users and make account recovery a relatively simple process.
According techcrunch.com, Confirm.io had raised at least $4 million from investors, including Cava Capital, since launching three years ago. The 2015 seed round funded advanced forensics used to pull information from an ID card, as well as mobile biometrics and facial recognition to confirm a person’s identity before the startup deleted the personal data.
The three-year-old, Boston-based company announced the acquisition on its site, stating that it will shut down as Facebook slurps it up into its empire. TechCrunch first reported this information, although it’s not known how much Facebook paid.
We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.
The startup writes:
When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market’s trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook. However, in the meantime, this means all of our current digital ID authentication software offerings will be wound down.
So, why is Facebook purchasing this new technology? Mark Zuckerberg’s company could potentially use the technology to have people confirm their identities if they’re locked out of their accounts after being hacked or losing their password. Back in September techcrunch.com spotted Facebook testing a feature that let you unlock your account using a selfie. And since at least 2013, Facebook has let people mail in a copy of their photo ID or other identity verification materials in order to regain access to their account.
Because this is a full acquisition, not just an ”acqui-hire”, Confirm.io’s team and tech could help Facebook strengthen and streamline these options. And one day, perhaps Facebook could even serve as users’ ID card in some situations. Face ID on the iPhone X could eventually be opened to third parties to power more biometric security across apps. With our keys and payment cards becoming digitized and part of our phone, the ID card is really the last reason you have to walk around with an old-school wallet.
Down the road, Facebook’s Confirm.io’s tech may also be used to prevent people from registering fake accounts that may be used to spread fake news and misinformation. As of now, all of this is just speculation. Very interesting assumptions, nonetheless.
With Josh Constine and Chris Smith